Criminology Research Proposal
Your task: Is to write a research proposal on a subject of your choice. You are NOT expected to carry out any data collection or analysis for this assignment. However, given that you will be working on your dissertation next year, it may be useful for you to start thinking about a topic that may be suitable for your final project. Find a topic that you are interested in or you are passionate about. However, please note that what you will be proposing here in terms of methodology may change when you start working on your project. Be careful in selecting the area of your proposed research as this must be appropriate to this course e.g. if you are doing a sociology degree your topic must be sociologically related. And if you are doing a criminology degree your topic must be related to criminological issues.
1. Research question;
2. Introduction – a brief introduction to your intended research;
3. Literature Review – a brief, critical review of some relevant literature
and a general introduction to the background and context of the research;
4. Methodology – a description of the qualitative/quantitative or mix technique/s to be employed and a justification for your choice, sampling issues, validity and reliability, method of data analysis, ethical concerns;
5. Research Timetable – provide a time plan for your work indicating how tasks will be planned. Please note you have 10 months to complete the research.
Assessment Criteria: Your work will be judged on the extent to which you have followed the outlined brief successfully. Your lecturer will specifically look at:
Ø The appropriateness of your research area;
Ø The appropriateness of the methodological techniques chosen;
Ø The extent to which your literature review provides a clear introduction to your proposed area of research;
Ø The extent to which you justify your choice of methods, discuss issues of validity and reliability, consider the ethical concerns and other limitations;
Ø The overall presentation of your work.
In developing your proposal, please take these issues into consideration:
1. Developing a research question: Write a clear and researchable research question. This part of the assignment will require you to spend some time thinking about a suitable topic for a piece of sociological or criminological research. Specifically, you should think about a research project which you could actually carry out as a lone researcher with the resources (time, funding, skills, etc.) at your disposal. To identify your topic, you are expected to look at what has already been published in areas of sociology or criminology you are interested in. Textbooks and journal articles are a good starting point for this. Likewise, the local or even national news might point you to a social problem worthy of further research.
2. Conducting a literature review: Conduct a very brief literature review in which you present the findings of previous research on your chosen topic area. The purpose of a literature review is to document what is already known about a subject matter and to identify gaps or conceptual problems in existing research, as a base for further study. Locate published academic research that is relevant to your topic. Discuss the main findings of this research and point to any omissions, gaps, or problems you have noticed in it.
3. Research design: Discuss the research design you would use to pursue your research questions. Specifically, look at the following issues:
a) What kind of overall methodological approach do you propose (qualitative, quantitative, mixed), and why?
b) Which research method(s) would you use to gather data on your research questions?
c) What is the population you are interested in, and which sampling strategy would you use to select particular cases from it for further study?
d) What are the main practical considerations to be taken into account in your proposed research project, i.e. how do time, resources, and other practical issues shape the research you could actually carry out?
e) What are the main ethical and political considerations likely to affect your project?
f) Are there any issues of validity and reliability?
4. Ethical issues: What are the practical, ethical and political considerations with regard to the process of data collection (if any)?
5. Bibliography: Write a bibliography in which you list the external sources you cited in your proposal.
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